NRL boss Todd Greenberg says the competition could continue without the New Zealand Warriors, should the players wish to return home to Auckland.
With travel bans currently in place that require self-isolation for a period of two weeks after overseas travel, if the Warriors fly home they will effectively be pulling out of the competition for the foreseeable future.
While Greenberg admitted that’s not ideal, he suggested the season could continue with 15 teams.
“It’s very possible for us to continue the competition if the Warriors want to go home,” Greenberg said.
“Of course we want all 16 clubs in the competition, but again, that’s a step that is a scenario, and we will only get to that after this weekend.
“One thing we’re learning is (to take) one day at a time, one step at a time, because things change quickly.”
The Warriors had been due to play their round two match against Canberra in Auckland, but are now based on the New South Wales north coast, with the match against the Raiders to be played on the Gold Coast.
But the club is yet to guarantee that they’ll stay in Australia beyond this weekend.
Greenberg admitted that the Warriors players face a unique set of circumstances.
“There’d be some real challenges for all of us. Challenges for the game and challenges for the club,” he said.
“But in saying that, that’s jumping to the conclusion that at the end of round two they’re (the Warriors) going to make some key decisions and none of those decisions are made yet.
“I’ve been in constant contact with the players, and the coach, today I’ve been in contact with their chairman and CEO, and I’ll keep talking to them.
“They’ll get through their game on Saturday on the Gold Coast, and then we’ll have another discussion, and we’ll start to plot what the next step looks like.
“I understand and appreciate that some of the players have got young children, (or) wives that are heavily pregnant. There are some personal circumstances that make it unique.
“We understand that. We appreciate that. We’re not putting any pressure on those people, we’re not putting any pressure on them to make decisions.”